The Bridge

Film, Documentaries
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Time Out says

The Golden Gate Bridge holds the unenviable record of world’s most popular suicide site: 24 people jumped from it into San Francisco Bay in 2004, throughout which year director Eric Steel trained his cameras on the Bridge. Interspersing footage of some of those people pacing along and leaping from the landmark with interviews with loved ones and witnesses, the resulting documentary is shocking and disturbing, powerful and questionable in its attempt to probe what Steel has called the ‘internal inferno’ the jumpers escaped.

A handful of individuals emerge in considerable and sympathetic psychological detail, including one who extraordinarily survived the fall. Others, though, receive much scanter treatment. In one case, the jump seems to be all we see or learn about an individual, leaving you wondering whether the distribution of such material is ethically warranted. Even if so flagrantly public a death counts an exhibitionist act, it’s hard to say whether ‘The Bridge’ is respectful, indulgent or exploitative of such motives. One interviewee bitterly refers to the site’s ‘false romantic promise’; certainly, with its brooding, fog-shrouded long-shots and ominous score, the film pays into a romantic fatalism long associated with the Bridge, in the movies as well as life (think of Madeleine’s quayside plunge in ‘Vertigo’). The aesthetic implications are numerous – distant splashes hint at Brueghel’s Icarus, tumbling unnoticed into the sea, while the whole thing invokes the bodies falling from that other architectural icon on 9/11 – but it’s not clear what is achieved beyond disturbance.

Posted:

Details

Release details

Rated:
18
Release date:
Friday February 16 2007
Duration:
93 mins

Cast and crew

Director:
Eric Steel